LepSoc *Membership Committee* includes TK.....

Neil Jones neil at nwjones.demon.co.uk
Sun Jul 29 14:54:17 EDT 2007

On Fri, 2007-07-27 at 18:44 -0400, bretcal1 at verizon.net wrote:
> I suddenly realized the meaning of Mike's reference to "TK" in the
> subject heading of his message. I think if any current member,
> including Tom Kral, is willing to serve the LepSoc in a positive
> manner, they should be given the opportunity to do so, despite past
> indiscresions and personal opinions. I hope that we can stay focused
> on the overall purpose of this proposed plan, which could benefit the
> society in the long run.   
> John Calhoun

Your failure to recognise the oblique reference and the reason behind it
speaks volumes and I will come back to that.

It is likely that not all members of the Lepidopterists' Society will be
really keen lepidopterists. Some will have a more general interest and
it seems reasonable so think that publicising the society to other
nature lovers might bring in new members whose interest might then be

However, Mike is absolutely right in saying that there are some real
thinking problems. "needing head capsules examined". Not the words I
would have used but I am sure it will reflect the disbelief in the wider
naturalist community.

IT is hard to describe this individual you have placed on your
committee. Even an understated rendition of the feeling many nature
lovers have of this man seems like exaggeration to me. I'd rather not do
this but some people seem to need to know. I have no intention of
getting into a protracted discussion. I know that there are a group of
philatelic extremists who support this guy out there.

He is one of the most notorious criminals in the world of lepidoptera
study. A convicted felon. Part of a 3 man group of philatelic butterfly
collectors, whose indictment ran to EIGHTY FIVE PAGES and is peppered
with quotes containing errors in the taxonomic names of scarce species
marked "(sic)". It would appear that the rareness of the prize mattered
more than the science.

If I recall correctly it seems  OVER TWO HUNDRED specimens of CITES
listed butterflies were confiscated from him. CITES listing means that
these are the butterfly equivalents of Tiger Skins and Rhinoceros Horn! 
That is without the poaching in National Parks etc.

This is not an "indiscretion". It is an appallingly awful crime. For
this alone he should have been thrown out with a very forceful boot.

However there is a reason why this man's name is not mentioned in full
by many people. A tradition because of his perceived  habit of posting
long abusive diatribes to internet lists. People seem to fear mentioning
his name will bring him back! Despite the overwhelming case against him
and his contrite admissions of guilt to the judge he suddenly seemed to
"go postal" on the internet claiming, it seems, he was the victim of an
conspiracy by Nazi-like officials. Almost anyone, it seems, who
disagreed was replied to with a torrent of foul abuse. To describe him
has  seeming to have a planetary sized ego seems week understatement.

I can't go into details. Some of my recollections seem just too foul.
You don't need to mention his name. Those who know and care about such
things, those who are perceptive and vigilant about their studies KNOW.

The problem is that some people commenting and saying this guy is OK are
not even following what happened weeks ago let alone just over a decade
ago ( Not 15 years as some are saying)

Let's look at the effect this will have on recruitment. My opinions on
this do not matter. It is  the perception of your target audience for
recruitment that matters.

Would a financial body have a convicted fraudster on their membership

Would a bird society have a convicted Egg Collector on their membership

Would a plant society have a convicted illegal orchid dealer in their
membership committee?

SO the plan is to contact other societies . What is the average nature
lover going to think when they hear that a notorious nature criminal is
involved and, what is more, some leading members aren't really bothered
about this?

TO me it seems quite simple.They are going to be put off! The entire
society is going to be seen as tainted with the tag of criminal
behaviour. It is a public relations disaster! People who care about
nature will be more reluctant to join and this is a key part of your
target audience.

I wish the Lepidopterists' society sincere best wishes. Our study needs
a good society in every part of the world. But I hope that their members
will ensure that it actually does behave as a good society should.

Neil Jones

Neil at nwjones.demon.co.uk



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